VIDEO VOICEOVER ESSENTIALS: A Description of the Dubbing Process
Laying the Foundation
When versioning a video from English to another language, we take extra steps at the outset to ensure that the voiceover is ultimately recorded accurately to fit the visual cues in the video. The biggest issue in versioning already-produced videos (as opposed to creating the video around a voiceover) is that most languages expand during the translation process from English and, in addition, word order can differ radically from language to language. These predictable differences between languages make it likely that – unless specific steps are taken -- the target language voiceover will not fit the timing parameters of the original video, which is in sync with the original English voiceover.
Fighting this almost-inevitable problem and keeping it from arising in our projects is a four-step process:
1- First, we create our own time-coding of the English language script, marking any visual cues or “sync points” that the new voiceover will need to match. This time code is fundamentally different from the time code generated for subtitles or naturally occurring from the video creation process. We use our own, proprietary method to create this essential time code. Since the target language will not necessarily follow the word order of the original English, we need to make sure that when the script is translated, it is done in a manner that will properly sync to the video once recorded. We consider this step crucial, for if the foundation of this process is not correctly assembled, the final product will most likely not stand up properly -- the target voiceover will not sync correctly with the onscreen images and transitions, despite the very best of editing and post-production.
2 - The script is then translated meticulously to time code. This is a very different translation process from straight (wild) translation when timing parameters are unimportant, and we use only translators experienced in this specific craft to create a perfect translation that is -- by definition -- about 10-20% shorter that it would be without the extra effort. After more than a decade of localizing videos, we've seen that not taking this into consideration is the most common mistake usually made when versioning a video from English into another language.
3 - The voiceover is then recorded in a proprietary fashion with an eye to adjusting afterwards any small deviations from the visuals. We have spent more than a decade developing this method, and we consider it one of the key points that puts our video versioning above the rest. Recently, we were hired to version multiple videos for a Google subsidiary into Spanish, and we've been awarded the fun assignment of localizing the Legoland movie “Clutch Powers” into Turkish!
4 - Finally, the target language voiceover is then synced to video in a meticulous process during which any micro-adjustments that may need to happen are taken care of, with a multi-lingual director present for accuracy. We use (again!) proprietary methods to shorten sections that may still be long or not line up correctly, with a very natural and undetectable result.
When following the above procedures, we are able to save our clients costly re-recording expenses, and we have effectively taken the guesswork out of this mysterious process. We are able to do this in any language, as long as we have the original materials (video and English script). We have created perfect syncs for happy customers in languages such as Malayalam, Assamese, Hiligaynon, Russian, Hebrew and many more.
Our work is guaranteed to be accurate, provided that we are hired to create the time-coding that is the foundation of the entire process and the translation that makes it possible.
Click here to check out some of our RECENT WORK in hundreds of languages.
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For more on the voiceover recording process, click here for our other FAQs.